How to get people to market your business… for free!

There’s a huge difference between marketing an average product and baking marketing into a product. One needs to be marketed relentlessly to drive sales. The other doesn’t. In fact, people will market the product or service for you.

[NOTE: You can find out how to bake marketing into a product, service or business, here.]

Brand ambassadors

I was approached by a large computer manufacturer last week. They want me to be a brand ambassador for their new ultraportable notebooks. I was offered a ‘free’ $1900 notebook, plus access to some conferences and exhibitions. All I had to do, was share how amazing their hardware is with my readers and those who connect with me on social networks. I thanked them, but declined.

Earlier that same day, I was sitting in a coffee shop editing an article on my creative thinking website, which included the above photo. If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll see that same brand of computer appears on the background image of my Twitter account.

Not only didn’t Apple pay me, I’ve paid them thousands to buy the 3 Macs I use. No one at Apple asked me to be an ambassador for their brand either. They didn’t need to.

Here’s the thing

When your product or service is just another (whatever), you need to push it to promote it. When your product has marketing baked in, people push it for you.

Moreover, they do it eagerly and without being paid.

3 Critical steps for a profitable, successful business

If you’re tired of working for average fees, working for average clients or achieving average results, this could be exactly what you need to know.

Things have changed… massively!

It has never been harder to make a living, by offering an average service.

Thanks to social networks, the people and businesses offering a remarkable service are now owning the most profitable segment of their marketplaces. They get all the buzz. All the word of mouth referrals. They spend very little on marketing and can charge a premium for their service. It’s a high profit way to build a hugely successful business.

All that’s left for the average provider, is to pester people for attention or buy their attention, with advertising and promotional offers. Then, sell based on low or average fees. It’s a low profit, frustrating and risky way to run a business.

The question is…

Why do so few business owners invest in doing what’s required, to take their business from average to remarkable?

There are a few extremely common reasons:

  1. It’s partly because of ignorance. Some are genuinely unaware that the service they provide is average. They grossly underestimate what their competitors are doing, so assume their own service is a lot better than it really is.
  2. It’s partly out of fear. The decision to up your game, to reach higher and to stand out, takes a lot of courage. Hiding in the middle ground feels safer, despite being the riskiest thing they can do.
  3. It’s partly because they don’t know how. Many business owners have no real idea what to do, in order to make the service they provide remarkable and highly desirable. They know they need to do something, they just don’t know what.

So, which, if any, of those 3 broad groups would your business fit in?

  • If your clients or customers seldom refer you, you’re in that first group. The same is true if your fees are around average and you tend to attract average clients.
  • If you know your business needs help, but you’re refusing to give it the resources it needs, you’re in the second group. The fear of change is blocking you from making the improvements required. Paradoxically, this is the riskiest thing you can do. When you starve a plant of the sunshine it needs, it stops growing… then dies. Starving a business of the resources it needs leads to the same result.
  • If you are ready to make the improvements required, but you’re not sure what to do, you’re in that third group. You’re also working from the same mindset as the most successful business owners, having overcome the fear of those in the second group and the ignorance of those in the first group.

Whichever group (if any) you find yourself in, the time to move from average to remarkable is now. It’s too important to delay.

Now what?

3 Steps to becoming remarkable

The first step is to acknowledge the need to improve.

The second step is to overcome the fear of change.

The third step is to do something about it.

Growth Hacking, shortcuts and building something of value

What kind of work (or art) are you going to produce today?

I was prompted to ask this question, after remembering a radio interview with Cyndi Lauper. Cyndi was talking about her career, when the interviewer asked her, what advice she had for aspiring artists. I’m paraphrasing here, but Cyndi’s reply was to never compromise your work for short-term gain. Instead, think about your legacy.

Cutting corners

In the age of Growth Hacking and shortcuts, it’s worth remembering that our reputation and legacy is built on the quality of our work.

It’s about the value of what we do… not how quickly we do it or how many corners we cut.

There are no traffic jams on the extra mile

I heard a great quote the other day: “There are no traffic jams on the extra mile”.

Whilst every business I have ever encountered claims to go the extra mile, we all know that in reality very few businesses actually do it. They try hard, sure, but they try hard without going a mile beyond what we expect.

So, why does this happen and what can we do to ensure we’re truly going the extra mile?

The extra mile: I can’t or I won’t?

I have found that there’s some confusion with the words can’t and won’t. People often say they can’t do something, when what they really mean is that they won’t.

Here’s the thing: When a service provider tells a customer [and themselves], that they can’t do something extra, they end the possibility of it happening. Can’t is a dead end. It can’t be done. That’s it.

Here’s an alternative approach, which can help you retain your clients and attract massively more referrals too.

The extra mile: An opportunity to disappoint or to shine

Think about it: When a restaurant stops serving at 2:30pm and you arrive at 2:33pm, to be told they can’t serve you, what they really mean is that they won’t serve you. They can serve you. However, they’ve chosen not to serve you… not to go the extra mile. By pointing to a sign that says they stop serving food at 2:30pm, the service provider has an excuse not to try.

You leave disappointed.

Of course, the best service providers would use that same situation as an opportunity to go a mile beyond what you expected of them. They’d explain that it’s a few minutes after they stop serving, but that they will make an exception for you. In doing so, they would have delivered a great customer experience story, for you to share with your friends.

The lesson here?

Before you tell a client or prospective client that you can’t do what they want, ask yourself if what you really mean, is that you won’t do what they want.

Now, if they are being totally unreasonable or selfishly trying to get you to work for free etc., you shouldn’t allow them to abuse your good nature.

However, if what you are being asked is something you can do and you believe they are sincere, you have a decision to make. You can do what they expect and refuse. Alternatively, you can be one of the rare few, who actually goes the extra mile. You can build stronger, deeper bonds with your clients.

Plus… you can give your marketplace a story about your business, worth sharing.

Choose: Fit in or stand out

When it comes to business we have 2 choices. We can strive to fit in or to stand out.

In or out?

From a marketing perspective, most business owners will say they try to stand out. To get noticed. To be outstanding.

Then, you look at what they do and it’s usually designed to fit in. It’s safe. Predictable.

Decision time

Think about the work you do and the way you market your business.

So, are you doing work that fits in or stands out… and is that consistent with what you want to achieve?

If you don’t like the way your future looks, change it!

Your future has not been written yet. No matter how things look today, by making better decisions and backing them up with action, you can turn things around.

What a wonderful, empowering opportunity.

Apple died in 1996

According to one of the world’s best known research companies, Apple were already finished when Steve Jobs returned to the company in 1996. A Forrester Research analyst was quoted in The New York Times saying:

“Whether they stand alone or are acquired, Apple as we know it is cooked. It’s so classic. It’s so sad.”

Of course, what followed was the transformation of Apple, into the world’s most valuable company.

Start today

Rewrite your future, starting today. Be the star of your own success story. Let go of the failing familiar and embrace the changes required, to take your life and your business to the next level.

A great way to start is to answer the following question: “If my business (or life) was perfect in every way, what would it look like?”

Then, get writing!

Include as much detail as you can. Don’t compromise — if you can imagine it, no matter how amazing, exciting or scary it sounds, write it down and make it a part of your future.

Once you know what your ideal future looks like, you will have the focus and clarity required, to start moving in the right direction. You will find it easier to avoid distractions and make progress like never before.

Then take just one step, each day, to an amazing future. YOUR amazing future.

Need help? I’m here.

Do you have a strong will or a strong won’t?

It’s hard to achieve anything of real value, without a willingness to persevere.

It started when you were a baby

You persevered for months, falling and getting back up, before you learned how to walk. Then you persevered for even longer, learning how to talk. And today, your results are largely defined by your decision to persevere… or quit before victory.

As Henry Ward Beecher said:

“The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is that one often comes from a strong will, and the other from a strong won’t.

Sometimes it isn’t our strategy, our tactics or our intelligence that blocks our path to success. It’s our commitment to persist for long enough.

When we improve our mindset, everything else follows.

Learning from the uphill climbs

I recently started cycling again, after a long time away from the saddle. One of the things that immediately struck me, was how hard it was to climb hills.

For the first couple of weeks, I’d see a hill ahead and dread it.

Then it struck me that the climbs were the most valuable part of the ride. Climbing hills built my stamina and worked the rest of my body more than the enjoyable, flat part of my route. The climb was my friend.

Soon, I started looking for routes that had hills. Hills equalled growth. Hills equalled progress.

The business cycle

In many ways, business is the same. We often achieve our most remarkable results, when faced with an uphill challenge — for example, the loss of a major client. These challenges force us out of our comfort zones.

  • They cause us to grow in a meaningful way.
  • They show us what we’re capable of.
  • They make us more resilient.

Embrace the climbs, my friend. After all, no challenges equals no progress!

Tip: Read this – What everybody needs to know about comfort zones.

Select your prospects then ignore the rest

A business owner has a couple of options, when deciding how to market her business.

  1. Try and appeal to everyone.
  2. Choose the kind of customers or clients you want to service… and ignore the rest.

Many small business owners select the first option

The thinking looks like this: If we try and appeal to everyone, we’ll have more prospective customers.

The reality is very different. By trying to be relevant to everyone, they end up being directly relevant to no one.

Smart business owners take the second option

They figure out exactly who they want to serve. They then focus exclusively on communicating with this highly profitable section of the marketplace. They learn what matters most to this group and learn their language. This allows them to market to prospective customers, with a directly relevant message, which will resonate strongly with them.

As a result, their marketing is massively more compelling… and that’s the kind of marketing, which generates sales.

Tip: Read this – A tested, proven way to attract sales leads.

How to do your best work

Here are a few things worth remembering, if you want a successful business.

  • People don’t give you their email address when they subscribe to your newsletter. They loan it to you.
  • People don’t give you their loyalty when they buy from you. They loan it to you.
  • People don’t give you their trust. They loan it to you.
  • People don’t give you their attention when they follow you on social networks or subscribe to your blog. They loan it to you.
  • People don’t give you their endorsement. They loan it to you.

You do your best work when you accept that you have to earn, then RE-EARN, all those assets.